Time For a Change

It’s time for a change. Plain and simple.

I have had this tiny corner of the internet since early 2010, and I have loved it. Yet, over the past couple years, I have found myself less and less inspired to write. When I started this blog, the premise was to follow my journey as a grad student intern during a summer in Oregon, and then again during the following school year while I was interning at UW-Madison. Then I chronicled my first few years as a new professional in the world of higher education. While I’ve always shared my travels and photography, the core of this blog has always been my work in higher education. It was a great way for me to process my internships and starting my position in Duluth. And now, I share very little here. It makes me sad because I do love blogging, writing, and sharing. One thing to understand is that a major portion of my work as a career counselor is doing the social media for my office. Among those platforms is a blog, and it’s all about career-related topics. While I am not a main writer for the office blog, I am working on it just about every day. With the work on the office blog, along with all of the other social media I do for my job, I have found myself drifting away from social media in my personal life (with a few exceptions). I felt that the premise of my blog was too closely tied to work, and I like to have a fairly clear separation between work and the rest of life. I have found myself on many occasions wanting to write about some topic but thinking it didn’t jive with the tone of the blog.

So, I’m making a change. The title, the premise, the look, everything.

I recently was watching Julie and Julia. It’s hands-down one of my favorite movies. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the quick version. Julie Powell is lost in her life as she’s turning 30. She loves to cook. She decides to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook in a year, and blog about it. I’m always inspired when I watch this movie. While I was watching it the other day, I thought about starting a completely new blog. One that was separate from my career and focused on the things I love outside of work. A place where I could share about scrapbooking, traveling, or updating my family cookbook, and not have it feel weird or “off-brand.” I realized, though, that I didn’t want to have a completely separate blog to manage. It seemed unnecessary. So, we’ll stay here at ellenhatfield.wordpress.com and spruce the place up a bit.

Here are a few things to know as we move forward:
I like to make things. I like to play with paper. I like to cook and, on occasion, bake. I like to capture moments in time. I like to travel. I like to read books and watch movies. I like to choose joy on a regular basis.

So here’s what I came up with: Ellen Makes Things.

Thanks for sticking around all these years. Or, welcome to the party, if you’re new. I make no promises about the consistency of posting. But I do promise I’m going to have fun sharing whatever I decide to make.

Happy Birthday NPS

Tomorrow (August 25th) the National Park Service is celebrating 100 years of existence. How exciting is that?! National Parks have been named one of “America’s Best Ideas.” The Ken Burns six-part documentary on the parks explains this: “THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA is nonetheless a story of people: people from every conceivable background – rich and poor; famous and unknown; soldiers and scientists; natives and newcomers; idealists, artists and entrepreneurs; people who were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved, and in doing so reminded their fellow citizens of the full meaning of democracy.” (source) Having been to national parks, historic sites, memorials, lake shores, and more…I agree with this quote whole-heartedly.

Mount Rushmore

I stepped foot into my first national park just over 6 years ago. Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Amazement. Breathtaking. Wanting to photograph every view just in case I’d forget it someday. Just pausing to soak it all in. This adventure into Badlands NP would start a love affair with: the National Park Service, travel, hiking, state parks, nature, and more. I’ve visited a number of NPS sites over the past 6 years, but it’s just a drop in the bucket of what’s possible. President Obama just designated the 413th NPS site: Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine.

Apostle Islands

In honor of the centennial of the National Park Service, I thought I’d share some of my favorite photos from my visits to different sites. To date I have visited:

There are so many more I want to visit. I have a pretty strong feeling that I’ll gladly spend the rest of my life chipping away at this “to-visit” list.

Blue Ridge Parkway, VA - Chimney Rock Mtn Overlook


Ute Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park

Shenandoah NP, VA


Voyageurs NP

Going on an Adventure

Happy Summer!! Tomorrow I’m celebrating a pretty big milestone…5 years of working at UMD. Woo! I still love the work, the people, and the students. I can’t ask for much more than that.

I’m also excitedly off from work for the next couple weeks. Yay Vacation! I’m attending ACPA’s Student Affairs Assessment Institute in Baltimore and then hitting the road for a couple day road trip through Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. So excited! I’ve been prepping and mapping out my route. Can’t wait to go on my adventure! For prep materials I’m using a mixture of State Visitor guides, Google, Pinterest, and two books by Moon Travel Guides. Per usual, too many fun things to do and not enough time.

Adventure Vacation

Source: the #adventure digital word art is from Ali Edwards and the Pinterest Passport freebies she has available right now to help celebrate the start of summer.

The Bulldog Life

Hello fine friends! Sorry I haven’t been around lately. The good news is I made it through the holidays and the spring recruiting season in fine fashion. Every spring, I coordinate my office’s appearance at Admissions events called Admitted Students Days. These are days when students who have applied and been admitted to UMD can visit the campus and solidify the choice to attend UMD. Anyway, I just wanted to share the picture I took today for a social media post. It’s one of my favorites I’ve done for work in a long time.


Walking by the Lake

This weekend we had some great unseasonably warm weather. High 30s! Trust me, in northern Minnesota, that is warm for this time of year. Early Saturday morning I decided to venture down to the lake shore with camera in hand. Specifically, I went to Canal Park by the Aerial Lift Bridge and our lighthouse. There was some beautiful light as it was shortly after sunrise (which, right now, is ridiculously late). During this time of year, the sun is rising as I’m going to work and setting when I’m leaving work…and my office has no windows. I’m starved for natural light & fresh air. Venturing out in the early morning was just the booster I needed.

The walkway out to the lighthouse is closed for the season, so I got a fun shot of the lighthouse through the gate. The gate itself is green…so I changed the photo to black and white. Much better. Below are a few of my favorite photos from the morning. Lighthouses


Version 2

Snow Falling

Just another quick photo for you today. The snow was falling last night in that perfect quiet kind of way. I just had to walk outside for a moment to experience and capture it. I snapped a handful of shots and the one below is my favorite. Not technically perfect, and that doesn’t really bother me.

Snow Falling